Roof and Courtyard
232 Third St. at 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215
F/G to Carroll St. or R to Union
|8:30PM||Live Music by Eden Sela|
|11:00PM- 12:30AM||Reception in courtyard courtesy of Red Stripe and Bulleit Bourbon|
Short Term 12 (Destin Cretton | USA | 96 min.)
Rooftop Films screened writer-director Destin Cretton's short film of the same title in 2009, and it’s thrilling to see him expand on the characters and themes in this accomplished feature-length film. Cretton’s sophomore feature pulls off a tricky balance of imbuing its story with emotional weight while not coming across as cloying in the process. The situation is inherently affecting, but the filmmaker complicates it with characters worth rooting for.
That success is aided by impeccable performances all around. Brie Larson, to date best known for her role on the now-defunct "United States of Tara," delivers a tremendously involving turn as Grace, the young supervisor of the facility drawn into the distinctive needs of various patients while maintaining a warm relationship with co-worker Mason (an equally believable Jason Gallagher Jr.). Behind closed doors, they engage in charming romantic chatter, but when among the patients they display a different sort of passion subtly realized over the course of a patiently constructed narrative.
Driven by their own history of problems that led them to the facility in the first place, Mason and Grace treat their jobs as a ways of life; in turn, the movie rarely leaves the foster home, inviting us into their routine of taming angry youth and exploring the cycle of overcoming personal hangups in intimate detail. But Cretton balances off the serious material with intensely likable protagonists whose penchant for cracking jokes under duress -- restraining tantrum-riddled patients, for example -- deepens their credibility and eases us into environment before advancing its poignancy. Instead of overstating its core ideas, Cretton reveals them through the minutiae of conversation, with Grace championing a commitment to "talk about what's going on inside your head." By the end of Short Term 12, we're not just in their heads but fully able to relate to them.
- Eric Kohn